Becoming a parent can sometimes feel like you have no time to take care of yourself. Little to no time to get to the gym. Being a mom of four kiddos, I found myself in this situation. Everyone and everything came first. I recently found myself falling in love with a new fitness journey and quickly realized that I could bring some of this fitness into our daily family lives. It wasn’t about having the time; it was about making the time.
I first think it’s important to realize that daily fitness doesn’t have to mean running or biking miles or lifting heavy weight. Depending on the age and size of your kiddos, you just might have some built in weights at home. I find the most important part is everyone having fun. Here are a few fun ideas to consider trying with your family, especially during this time of social distancing.
- Family Dance Party
Pick a day of the week to have a family dance party. Our favorite part is everyone gets to take turns being DJ. As parents we love to pick music from when we were growing up, it makes the kids laugh. When we put on some of our favorites like Ice Ice Baby, Pour Some Sugar on Me makes them either get down or ask for a new song. You will quickly learn who has the best family dance moves and will be surprised at how well your kiddos can grove to the music.
- Turn Commercial Breaks into workouts
Ok, I know most of us like to fast forward through them, but turn it into fitness fun. Most commercials last around two minutes. Have a team or individual competition on who can do the most reps during the commercial time. Depending on the age of your kiddos, invent some funny names for pushups, sit-ups, squats, burpees, or lunges. As your children get older, let them call out the movement that everyone needs to do. If your kiddos are small enough, use them as a kettlebell when doing squats or have them lay on your back to do a weighted pushup or plank hold.
- Yard Work
One of the best purchases we made were kid size shovels and rakes. It’s a race to see how gets to shovel the driveway. In the fall we spend hours raking leaves and piling them up under our slide for hours of fun.
- Walk or Run for a Charity
No matter the time of year, but you can always find a 5K to enter and majority of them are stroller friendly. This past summer my son wanted to run his first 5K at 8 years old. To see the pride on his face when he was done was truly one of the most incredible memories. I encourage you to make it an annual tradition.
- Make an obstacle course.
Think fun American Ninja Warrior style. Make it an interesting course of jumping, running, climbing, crawling and other fun things you can find. Hold a tournament and the fastest time wins the Grand Prize of no chores for the week. This family friendly competition will make for some great memories.
Don’t overlook the fun you as a family can have no matter the age of your kiddos or your current physical fitness level. The hardest part of any fitness journey is getting started and making it fun. As a family pick a goal that you would like to accomplish. Track your progress with a chart for each family member. Having this visible will help keep everyone on track. Once a family member or the group reaches the goal, it’s time to celebrate! YOU DID IT! It’s important to talk with your kids about what they learned from this effort. Ask them to share their surprise lessons.
After you’ve tasted success, keep the momentum going! Start again with a brand-new objective. If your first challenge prompted you to change your exercise habits, maybe your second one can tackle a healthy eating habit.
-Erica Erickson, CrossFit Coach